June – the big kick-off to summer festivals across North America and Europe. It’s also the start of the winter festival season in the Southern Hemisphere. In the USA, it’s one massive bucket-list music festival after another, so if you’re seeking good music in America during June, you won’t have far to go. Regardless where you are in the world, regardless of the season, there’s always a Rad festival happening. Check out the list below if you need help figuring out where you should for the best festivals in June.
Bonnaroo is probably the biggest and best of all American Music festivals and there are many to compete with. However, none can really top the efforts of Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo is not just about music; it’s about experience and community and so many other things. Having started in 2002, Bonnaroo has always managed to put together unbelievable lineups, filling four days with some of the best music in the world.
This year’s lineup includes The Killers, Eminem, Muse, Bon Iver, Alt-J, and dozens of other incredible worldwide acts. There’s generally a focus on jam bands at Bonnaroo, where an act (think Phish) or multiple acts take the stage and groove until they can groove no more. The grounds are basically a little city, featuring craftsmen and artisans, food and drink vendors, a cinema tent, a comedy tent, a silent disco, and other attractions. The heat is no joke – always have water, a hat, and sunscreen with you.
Where: Manchester, Tennessee, USA
When: June 7th to June 10th
The White Nights Festival lasts for two months from May 26th to July 23rd in St. Petersburg, Russia. The festival is organized by the St. Petersburg City Administration. Clearly, unless you have two spare months on your hands or you live in Russia, this is a difficult festival to completely take in. The festival features numerous cultural events that take place during nighttime, as well as classical ballet, opera, and music.
One of the main events is called Scarlet Sails, which boasts a giant fireworks show celebrating the end of the school year as illuminated ships cruise through the harbor. White Nights also features carnivals, many of which reproduce historical events. Due to the event’s popularity it’s best to buy tickets well in advance if you plan on being in St. Petersburg.
Where: St. Petersburg, Russia
When: May 26th to July 23rd
If there’s ever any excuse to waste food and wine, I guess this is it. But it’s not actually a waste as the wine used in the fight is low-grade and didn’t make the cut for bottling. The Wine Fight takes place in the city of Haro, Spain. It’s basically a water-gun fight but with, you guessed it, wine. You may see some participates only shooting themselves…directly in the mouth. Once a year, the delicious vino Tinto – which has made the region of La Rioja famous – is used as ammo in a one-of-kind fight above the vineyard.
The wine fight started as a land dispute between Haro and neighboring Miranda de Ebro. Over the years, after the dispute was solved the tradition continued and turned into a celebration. Obviously, the festival is perfect for wine lovers and party goers. Grab your weapon (A bucket? Water gun? Bottle of wine?), prepare to get soaked and stained in pink and purple and join in on the fun with the whole town.
Where: Haro, Spain
When: June 27th to June 30th
This year in Copenhagen Distortion festival marks its 20th anniversary and has a lot in store for participants. The city-wide festival is quoted as being a celebration of Copenhagen street life and dance music. It’s one of the largest annual gatherings in Europe with upwards of 100,000 guests taking to the streets each day of the event.
The week kicks off with dozens of street parties around the city. The week ends with a music festival on an industrial island in Copenhagen, focusing on new dance music, such as trap, world, house, techno, and experimental. The harbor area turns into a maze-like party, with outdoor dance floors and light installations turning the area into Scandinavia’s largest electronic music event.
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: May 30th to June 3rd
The name is pretty darn fitting. Mountain Jam music festival features groovy jam-band music in the mountains outside of New York City. Held at the Hunter Mountain ski resort, Mountain Jam started out in 2005 and has been met with an avalanche of support and love. It’s your basic mountain-music festival – be chilled by the fresh air and sunny (hopefully) weather, meet and greet fellow festival goers, jam-out all weekend long to killer music with the additional benefit of being located in scenic Hunter Mountain.
The year’s lineup includes Portugal The Man, Alt-J, The War on Drugs, Jack Johnson, and Kurt Vile and The Violators. The festival also focuses on yoga and art, contributing to its laid-back, chilled-out vibe. (If you’re more of a late June festival fanatic, hit up Summerfest in Wisconsin to see Dave Matthews Band, The Weekend, and Arcade Fire).
Where: Hunter Mountain, New York, USA
When: June 14th to June 17th
One of the best things about summer is that it’s full of music festivals. The thing that can make music festival season really tough, however, is choosing which festival to go to – especially when they fall on the same dates, like Firefly and Mountain Jam. First held in 2012, Firefly has quickly become one of the best music festivals in the US.
This year’s lineup features Chromeo, Arctic Monkeys, Eminem (who seems to be playing lots of festivals this summer in the US), The Killers, Kendrick Lamar, MGMT and it just keeps on being awesome. The festival takes place on the 105-acre grounds of The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway. Like most other massive festivals Firefly isn’t only music – there’s an arcade tent set up, craft beer, silent raves, a hammock hangout area and so on.
Where: Dover, Delaware, USA
When: June 14th to 17th
While summer festival season is in full swing in North America it’s winter in New Zealand and the rest of the southern hemisphere. Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off winter season in the adventure capital of New Zealand. Organizers say the party is as fresh as the season’s first powder. This year’s festival will be hosted at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
The festival will feature many of NZ’s hottest musical acts, including Nadia Reid and Her Band. Other events include a comedy night, a torchlight procession, Monteith’s Dog Derby, the Skycity Ball, some weird competitions, and lots of more music from down under. Celebrated since 1975 the Queenstown Winter Festival started with a few jokes and laughs and is now New Zealand’s biggest winter celebration.
Where: Queenstown, New Zealand
When: June 21st to June 24th
This is probably the best way to start June. This year’s Governors Ball lineup is huge – Jack White, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Travis Scott, Eminem, Khalid, and a diverse list of other performers. The festival was started 8 years ago because organizers said New York – a city filled with music lovers – needs a contemporary music festival. Food is a big part of the festival experience so don’t forget to seek out wicked eats from the many food trucks.
To work off the food, hit up some of the festival’s events, such as mini golf, silent discos, interactive photo booths, and the ubiquitous life-sized board games. Also, check out the street art by artists from all over the world. Held in Randall’s Park along the East River, the Governor’s Ball is getting bigger and better every year. (If you’re in the other side of the world, perhaps London make sure you check out Download rock music festival, featuring Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N’ Roses, and Ozzy Osbourne).
Where: Randall’s Island, New York, USA
When: June 1st to June 3rd
Iceland loves artists, and artists love Iceland. Lasting more than two weeks from June 1st to June 17th, the Reykjavik Arts Festival is filled with a variety of unique arts performances, including photography, design, visual art, dance, music, theatre, opera, literature, performance art, sculpture and more. From start to finish, there are free events to attend if you spent all your money getting to Iceland.
Since its start in 1970, the biennial festival has invited hundreds of artists and performers from around the globe. Every day during the festival in Reykjavik the streets are filled with exhibitions from multidisciplinary artists. This year’s theme is ‘Home’.
Where: June 1st to June 17th
When: Reykjavik, Iceland
Feature image credit: governorsballmusicfestival.com
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